According to a surprising new investigation by Consumer Reports 1, 69 percent of all raw pork samples tested nearly 200 samples in total were contaminated with the dangerous bacteria Yersinia enterocolitica, which causes fever and gastrointestinal illness with diarrhea, vomiting, and stomach cramps. Ground pork was more likely than pork chops to be contaminated. The pork also tested positive for other contaminants, including the controversial drug ractopamine, which is banned in many parts of the world, including China and Europe.
Dr Ted Broer What happens when you eat pork
Regardless of your spiritual beliefs, there may be good reason to carefully consider your decision to include pork as a regular part of your diet, because despite advertising campaigns trying to paint pork as a “healthy” alternative to beef, research suggests it may be hazardous to your health on multiple levels. One of the most potentially acute hazards is contamination with pathogenic bacteria.
Ground pork was more likely than pork chops to be contaminated.
Is Pork an Unhealthy “Dirty Meat” You Should Avoid?
10 Reasons Why Muslims Don't Eat Pork And Bacon... Click To Tweet
The pork also tested positive for other contaminants, including the controversial drug ractopamine, which is banned in many parts of the world, including China and Europe. The drug, which was found in more than 20 percent of the samples, is used to boost growth in the animal while leaving the meat lean. Worst of all, many of the bacteria found in the pork were resistant to multiple antibiotics, making treatment, should you fall ill, all the more problematic and potentially lethal.
WHY MUSLIMS DON’T EAT PORK AND BACON
Our analysis of pork-chop and ground-pork samples from around the U.S. found that yersinia enterocolitica, a bacterium that can cause fever, diarrhea, and abdominal pain, was widespread. Some samples harbored other potentially harmful bacteria, including salmonella. And there are more reasons to be concerned about the other white meat.
Some of the bacteria we found in 198 samples proved to be resistant to antibiotics commonly used to treat people. The frequent use of low-dose antibiotics in pork farming may be accelerating the growth of drug-resistant superbugs that threaten human health.
About one-fifth of the 240 pork products we analyzed in a separate test harbored low levels of the drug ractopamine, which the U.S. approved in 1999 to promote growth and leanness in pigs. Its commonly used in pigs raised for food in the U.S. but is banned in the European Union, China, and Taiwan. Our food-safety experts say that no drugs should be used routinely in healthy animals to promote growth. Here are details from our tests:
Levels of contamination in the U.S. is about 50 pounds per year, based on 2009 Department of Agriculture data. We tested 148 samples of meat from pork chops and 50 from ground pork, and found that almost 70 percent tested positive for yersinia enterocolitica, which can infect people who eat raw or undercooked pork. Enterococcus, staphylococcus aureus, salmonella, and listeria monocytogenes were less common in the samples we tested.
Bible and Quran Says “Don’t Eat Pork” Why?
These steps can help you minimize the risk of foodborne illness or discourage the routine use of antibiotics in agriculture:
- When cooking pork, use a meat thermometer to ensure that it reaches the proper internal temperature, which kills potentially harmful bacteria: at least 145° F for whole pork and 160° F for ground pork. (See our buying guide to meat thermometers.)
- As with other meats, keep raw pork and its juices separate from other foods, especially those eaten raw, such as salad.
- Wash your hands thoroughly after handling raw meat.
- Choose pork and other meat products that were raised without drugs. One way to do that is to buy certified organic pork, from pigs raised without antibiotics or ractopamine. Another option is to buy from Whole Foods, which requires that producers not use either type of drug.
- Look for a clear statement regarding antibiotic use. “No antibiotics used” claims with a USDA Process Verified shield are more reliable than those without verification. Labels such as “Animal Welfare Approved” and “Certified Humane” indicate the prudent use of antibiotics to treat illness.
- Watch out for misleading labels. “Natural” has nothing to do with antibiotic use or how an animal was raised. We found unapproved claims, including “no antibiotic residues,” on packages of Sprouts pork sold in California and Arizona, and “no antibiotic growth promotants” on Farmland brand pork sold in several states. We reported those to the USDA in June 2012, and the agency told us it’s working with those companies to take “appropriate actions.” When we checked in early November, Sprouts had removed the claim from its packages. (See our guide to food labels.)
- If your local supermarket doesn’t carry pork from pigs raised without antibiotics, consider asking the store to carry it. To find meat from animals that were raised sustainably—humanely and without drugs—go to eatwellguide.org. To learn about the Consumers Union campaign aimed at getting stores to sell only antibiotic-free meat, go to NotinMyFood.org.
Sources are embedded within this article as well as below.
Image courtesy of Sean Gallup
Videos courtesy of: youtube.com